Smartphone shipments will overtake feature phones for the first time this year, with falling prices, 4G networks and increased range driving demand.
New research from IDC predicted there will be 35.5 million smartphones shipped this year in the United Kingdom, giving the country a 3.9% share of the global market. While its shipments will leap by 33.8% to 47.5 million, its worldwide share will fall to 3.1%, largely because of the increasing importance of the Brazilian and Indian markets to smartphone makers.
IDC said smartphone growth has slowed 'considerably' in recent quarters because of increased penetration and wider economic challenges. According to the most recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, smartphone penetration in the UK is 62%.The research agency predicted that 1.5bn smartphones will be shipped globally during 2017, which is equivalent to just over two thirds of total mobile shipments this year.
China will remain the world's biggest smartphone market by 2017, accounting for 30.2% of total shipments, but its growth is also expected to slow. Melissa Chau, senior research manager for IDC Asia/Pacific, said: 'While we don't expect China's smartphone growth to maintain the pace of a runaway train as it has over the last two years, there continue to be big drivers to keep the market growing as it leads the way to ever lower smartphone prices and the country's transition to 4G networks is only just beginning. Even as China starts to mature, there remauns enormous untapped potential in other emerging markets like India, where we expect less than half of all phones shipped there to be smartphones by 2017, and yet it will weigh in as the world's third largest market.'
Author: Graeme Neill